By Jeremy Sher
Directed by Scott Bradley
Produced by Walkabout Theater Company
At the Victory Gardens Upstairs Theatre, Chicago
Sailing saga goes off course and adrift
Jeremy Sher’s one person work, Crow, both written and staring Jeremy Sher is set in 1969 depicting a round-the-world solo sailboat race that finds Donal Crowhurst’s adventures being vividly presented. Utilizing innovative video (by Liviu Pasatre) and excellent sound (by Lee Keenan) on a yacht infused set complete with white sails and 1200 feet of sailors rope, Sher’s 75 minute one-act is a vague, unfocused and confused story told in flashbacks in no particular order. The most engaging thing in Crow is the use of sailing ropes that Sher deftly arranges from one clamp to another making a series of crossed rope formations hinting a sail ringings. I quickly got tired of watching Jeremy Sher move about the set as he tells his story while manically moving about suggesting the rigors of ocean sailing.
The non-linear storytelling quickly and fatally confused me as it moved about depicting the sailing vessel’s massage around the world. The action of the story is told by Sher who seems to be presenting Crowhurst as delusional as he mixes the background info with problems during the voyage.
The beginning of the show shows Crowhurst receiving a hero’s welcome – is that a dream? We learn that Crowhurst was British yet Sher sounds American. We also learn that Crowhurst has a family and children yet he is obsessed with the challenge of the yacht race. We hear Crowhurst snuggling with his electronic equipment that denies him responding to location inquiries.
But, by far, the most irritating part of this show was the meandering lunatic ramblings that Sher recited in a series of monologues ranging from comments on Einstein’s theories to rants on his motivation for continuing the race. The line between reality and delusion is obscured and I quickly got lost and bored with this show that depends more on rope tricks than clear focus.
There are so many unanswered questions – what happens to Crowhurst when he disappears? Where is the line between fact and delusion in Sher’s presentation? This perplexing elliptical work quickly wears out its welcome due mainly to its vagueness and density. The 75 minutes seemed like a few hours. I’d skip thos one.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: June 3, 2012
For more more info checkout the Crow page at theatreinchicago.com
At the Victory Gardens Upstairs Theatre, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL, www.walkabouttheater.org, tickets $28, Students $10, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm,Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 75 minutes without intermission, through June 17, 2012